February 27, 2020

CSRWire.com The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire

news by category

CSR News

Cheerios Announces Major Commitment to Improving Childhood Literacy

Submitted by: General Mills

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Mar 05, 2002 – 11:00 PM EST


Best-selling Author Judy Blume Goes Back to School to Launch Initiative
March 2002

MINNEAPOLIS, Mar. 05 /CSRwire/ - Just as eating a good breakfast each morning helps children perform better in school, a daily dose of reading is a necessary jumpstart for their minds. Recognizing this, Cheerios - America's No. 1 cereal - has launched a significant commitment to childhood literacy.

Though research confirms the developmental importance of childhood reading, not all children have the access to books they need to succeed. In fact, 61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children1 and more than a quarter of America's fourth graders read for pleasure no more than twice a month2. Starting this month, the Cheerios initiative will include cereal box offers for classic children's books, monetary support for national literacy initiatives and a variety of resources to help families make reading a priority.

This morning, best-selling author Judy Blume, who has sold more than 75 million books worldwide, returned to her childhood school to help Cheerios kick off the initiative. After touring Fienberg-Fisher Elementary School in Miami Beach, where she attended third and fourth grades, Blume read aloud from her book, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and discussed the importance of childhood reading.

"It's absolutely critical that children discover the joys of reading early on and be given the opportunity to enjoy books every day," said Blume. "I'm excited to champion this Cheerios initiative, which will create easy, affordable ways to distribute millions of books to children, and help educate families about the invaluable benefits of daily read-aloud sessions."

This month, the Cheerios franchise kicks off its literacy campaign on over 28 million boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, which all offer three free award-winning children's books published by Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group, a division of Random House Children's Books. By sending in two proofs of purchase and $1.25 for shipping and handling, consumers can order one of the following Knopf Delacorte Dell titles:

Frederick written and illustrated by Leo Lionni. A Caldecott Honor winning fable about a mouse who's a big dreamer; recommended for children up to six years old. Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. The first book in the award-winning series about a young sleuth; recommended for ages 5-9. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. First published in March 1976, this ever-popular chapter book is still a favorite among kids ages 7-12. As part of the program launch, Cheerios has donated $100,000 to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's largest children's literacy organization, and will donate an additional 15 cents to RIF for every book redeemed through the on-pack promotion (up to $150,000). With these donations, RIF will help get even more books into the hands of children across the country.

"A child can never have too many books and yet an alarming number of children don't even have one book to call their own," said Laura Daly, Cheerios marketing manager. "Cheerios is committed to putting more books into the hands of children. We're proud to offer these high-value, classic titles by three terrific authors and support the tremendous efforts of RIF."

"I am excited by Cheerios' commitment to RIF and to improving children's literacy," said Carol H. Rasco, RIF president and CEO. "The generous support of the Cheerios family will help us continue our mission to place books into the hands of children and motivate them to read."

This week, Cheerios has launched a host of other activities to support its commitment to childhood literacy. Today, John Andretti, driver of the Cheerios No. 43 Dodge, celebrated the new initiative by reading aloud to kids at an Atlanta Boys and Girls Club. He also unveiled the Cheerios "A Book for Every Child" No. 43, which he will drive in this Sunday's Atlanta 500 Winston Cup race. For every lap Andretti completes, Cheerios will donate 43 new books to local Atlanta and Macon-area Boys and Girls Club chapters.

At General Mills' new Cereal Adventure family attraction in Minneapolis, Cheerios will sponsor Toddler Play and Story Time every Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. For $2.50 per child, the Mall of America attraction allows families with toddlers to enjoy special early admission and read aloud time. There's also free coffee for parents and special offers in the Café and Gift Shop.

In addition, Cheerios.com has added a childhood literacy section for parents, which includes expert advice on how to read aloud to children at various ages, answers to frequently asked questions about childhood reading, fast facts that prove the importance of childhood reading and an overview of current Cheerios efforts surrounding literacy. The new online literacy area can be found at www.cheerios.com.


Cheerios, America's No. 1 cereal, just celebrated its 60th birthday. Originally called Cheerioats when it debuted in 1941, the nation's first ready-to-eat oat cereal has since become one of the most trusted and recognized brands in America. In fact, one of every 10 boxes of cereal sold in America is a box of Cheerios. General Mills' popular franchise includes Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, and Team Cheerios.


Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group is a division of Random House Children's Books, the world's largest English-language children's book publisher. Producing books for preschool children through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books and novels, Random House Children's Books brings together world-famous franchise characters, multimillion-copy series, and top-flight, award-winning authors and illustrators. The company is comprised of two editorial divisions: the Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group and the Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group. Their award-winning Web site, kids@random (www.randomhouse.com/kids) offers an array of materials and activities free of charge for children, parents, and educators. Random House Children's books is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG.


Founded in 1966, RIF develops and delivers children's and family literacy programs that help prepare young children for reading and motivate school-age children to read regularly. Through a national, grassroots network of more than 400,000 community volunteers, last year RIF programs provided 15 million new, free books and other essential literacy resources to more than 5 million children. This year, RIF is celebrating its 35th anniversary and the milestone of putting more than 200 million books in the hands and homes of children who need them most. For more information, visit RIF's Web site at www.rif.org.

1 Reading Literacy in the United States, 1996
2 NAEP 2000 Reading Report Card

Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Team Cheerios and Cereal Adventure are trademarks of General Mills, Inc.

For more information, please contact:

Liv Lane General Mills
Phone: (763) 764-4830
Joyce Johannson General Mills
Phone: (612) 927-4543

For more from this organization:

General Mills


Issuers of news releases and not csrwire are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content